Why You Should Add (a Lot of) Turmeric to Your Sugar Cookies

September 21, 2018

A couple years ago, we mapped out 18 sugar cookie possibilities so you could find your soulmate:

Cakey cookies and chewy cookies, molasses cookies and sprinkles cookies, shortbready cookies and vegan cookies. All of them, in one sense or another, are classic and pure.

These are not.

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Thanks to a couple teaspoons of ground turmeric in the dough, they take on a highlighter-yellow hue and a whole new world of flavors. In fact, while we all agreed that we loved them, we couldn’t agree on what they tasted like:

  • “Is there a berry in this cookie?” asked senior lifestyle editor Hana Asbrink. “I'm getting crazy raspberry notes!” (Nope!)
  • “Not bitter or too herbal, which is often the issue I have with turmeric-scented things (like golden milk),” said books and special projects editor Brinda Ayer. “Just a subtle kiss of sunshine.”
  • Recipe developer Ella Quittner loved that they were “deeply spiced.” They also made her want “a glass of milk for dunking, and a soft sweater for wearing.” (Done and done.)
  • Assistant editor Katie Macdonald agreed: “I'm in love with their slightly spicy, bright flavor—it's almost lemony, but with more warmth.”
  • “They were my favorite thing of yours I’ve eaten,” said senior editor Eric Kim. (Eric! Don’t tell the others!)

This is all very exciting for a once-demure sugar cookie. Butter and sugar act as background singers, amplifying the turmeric. Given the spice’s unusual, front-and-center, sweet context, we couldn’t help but feel like we were meeting it for the first time.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I hope to make this our families signature sugar cookie. ”
— Stacey

Of course, any cookie—especially a sugar cookie—is as much about texture as it is about flavor. For me, there’s only one way to go: crispy edges, chewy center, with a wrinkly, crackly crust. To create the last, I rolled the dough balls in turmeric sugar.

Which, yes, is more turmeric. But this is a good thing! Trust us.

Do you have a sugar cookie soulmate? Tell us all about it in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Yolanda
  • Roni Webb
    Roni Webb
  • Stacey
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Yolanda December 1, 2018
I was obsessed with making these & I finally made my way to Spices & Tease in Chelsea Market to get the turmeric. I’m not sure what I expected—maybe a weird hit of exotic flavor. It turned out to be a very yummy sugar cookie, & the texture is perfect! I think I’ll always use this recipe just to make my sugar cookies stand out from the rest. I wonder if I can add turmeric to roll-out dough for cut-out cookies? I recommend trying this recipe; very yummy!
Emma L. December 1, 2018
So glad you enjoyed, Yolanda!
Roni W. October 27, 2018
What are the chances of these turning out as delicious gluten free?
Stacey September 29, 2018
Wow, are these the perfect transition from summer to fall flavored cookies. Bright and warm as a ray of sunshine like you described in the blog post. I loved trying turmeric in an unusual and delightful form! I hope to make this our families signature sugar cookie.
Emma L. September 30, 2018
Thank you so much, Stacey!
Posie (. September 24, 2018
SO excited to make these this week!
Emma L. September 30, 2018
Yay! Thanks, Posie!
Eric K. September 21, 2018
They were my favorite thing of yours I’ve eaten.